2010 January - Career Fuel2010 January - Career Fuel

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January 2010
In This Issue:



Getting Students Ready for College and Work
Calling All Leaders
Step Up!
Farmer Alison
Resource Corner

Getting Students Ready for College and Work

A new year brings new opportunities for teachers, counselors, administrators and, of course, students. As the calendar changed to 2010, educators of all kinds gathered at Montclair State University on January 13 to talk about the LearnDoEarn program, which gives students and their parents information they need to make the best academic, career and financial decisions in middle and high school.

Few people realize, however, that LearnDoEarn is but one school initiative on the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce’s education priority list this year. “We offer three programs that will help all schools improve but we focus a lot of our capacity delivering our programs in urban districts to make sure school leadership knows how to use each program,” says Dana Egreczky, senior vice president, workforce development at the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and president of The Business Coalition for Educational Excellence (BCEE). Here is a quick glimpse at each program:

  • KnowYourSchools.org. Slated to launch in January 2010, KnowYourSchools.org is an online database of comparative school performance. “We’re going to be able to see how schools compare against each other, but also how urban schools compare to urban schools, apples to apples,” explains Egreczky.
  • MATHNext. “The biggest challenge of even successful urban districts is helping kids get through the math,” says Egreczky. The BCEE has partnered with Rutgers University-Newark to deliver MATHNext (www.mathnext.org), which provides teacher professional development in middle-school math.
  • LearnDoEarn. The mission of LearnDoEarn (Learn More Now, Do More Now, Earn More Later) is to convince students in all school districts that they have to work harder in middle school and high school if they want to be prepared for college and work. The program, in place for more than four years, now operates in 170 New Jersey schools as a result of corporate sponsorship, says Egreczky, and was launched nationally in December 2006.

Read an expanded version of this article by visiting http://www.njnextstop.org, clicking on the Lifeline column’s Show All feature and selecting “Getting Students Ready for College and Work.”

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Calling All Leaders

If you’re a middle school or high school student, maybe your New Year’s resolution for 2010 is to seek out new challenges. The Nontraditional Career Resource Center (NCRC) at Rutgers University in New Brunswick may be able to satisfy that goal. The NCRC has created The Academy for Leadership & Equity, a free experiential learning program designed for 7th and 8th grade students interested in leadership roles and exploring nontraditional careers like women in construction and fire safety or men in nursing. Interested? You still have time to apply for the academy that will be held on March 26 and 27 at Rutgers’ Newark campus. To be considered, you must send a completed application by February 12, 2010. Visit http://www.ncrc.rutgers.edu or call (732) 932-4614 to get a copy.

High school students in 9th, 10th and 11th grades can also benefit from some NCRC leadership training at the Career Summer Institute, July 11th – 16th. This intensive career development program, also held at Rutgers, includes interactive workshops, building leadership and teamwork skills and exploring careers in nontraditional workplaces in such fields as science and technology, health care and engineering and mathematics. Applications are due March 19, 2010. Visit http://www.ncrc.rutgers.edu or call (732) 932-4614 to get a copy.

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Step Up!

Middle school and high school students involved in The Academy for Leadership & Equity and the Career Summer Institute at the Nontraditional Career Resource Center (NCRC) at Rutgers University are challenged to develop a social action project. “The project, implemented at their schools or in their local communities, deals with any injustices or unfairness they have either seen or experienced,” explains Glenda Gracia-Rivera, associate director of education and career development at the NCRC.

Vallari Parikh and Luis Rivera, 8th grade students at Lake Riviera Middle School in Brick, attended NCRC’s The Academy for Leadership & Equity last February and as a result created a program called “Many Worlds into One World.” They worked with Reyna Martinez, another 8th grade student, as well as their school counselor to develop a presentation for the faculty and the administrators of Lake Riviera Middle School to educate them on the challenges students from different countries face each day. “They researched the demographics of the school, looked up various quotations, created poems, told their own personal stories and put it all together in a power point presentation,” says Terry Ryan-Botello, their advisor. “Some teachers commented on how much they learned from them, and many were brought to tears just listening to the struggles they face.” How can all of us make it better for students from other countries? Vallari, Luis and Reyna offer these suggestions:

  • Learn about each other’s countries and cultures.
  • Take the time to get to know each other.
  • Open communication and dialogue.
  • Respect differences and embrace similarities.
  • Try to learn a second language.
  • Avoid assumptions.
  • Focus on the positive not the negative.
  • Offer a helping hand.

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Farmer Alison

As the Nontraditional Career Resource Center at Rutgers University wants you to know, men and women are free to pursue any career. Forget those stereotypes! Women can become aerospace engineers and men can teach elementary school. The idea is to learn to think differently about the career paths you wish to explore and how you best fit into them.

Alison Keggan, 20, gave lots of thought to the image of herself in overalls as she earned her high school diploma and left her home in Port Murray, Warren County to head off to college a few years ago. Alison, whose father had grown up on a dairy farm in Hunterdon County, always had an affinity for the land and animals. She joined the 4-H club as a young girl, traveling to fairs to show sheep, dairy cattle, goats, rabbits and chickens. And by the time she reached Warren Hills High School, she was ready to join the FFA, an agricultural education organization that used to be more commonly known as the Future Farmers of America. Alison eventually became vice president of the state chapter.

But did she want to be a farmer for a living? Turns out, agriculture had lots more options for her once she took a closer look. These days, Alison is training for a whole new level of ag education. As a junior at Cornell University, she is working toward a career in ag business and a degree in animal science. She takes classes like agri-business strategy, marketing and farm management, and she spent last semester studying in New Zealand, a large agricultural country that has a mere 4 million residents, half the size of New York City. Then again, Alison does tend to prefer fuzzier neighbors. “New Zealand was absolutely awesome,” says Alison, who attended Massey University while down under. “Where I lived, there were literally sheep right out my back door. I got to take classes through the agricommerce program in agricultural policy, agricultural management and business management.” Where will all this lead? “I would like to get my PhD in ag business, work for a couple years with the United States Department of Agriculture in trade policy and then become a college professor,” says Alison. No overalls required.

Read an expanded version of this article by visiting http://www.njnextstop.org, clicking on the Real People column’s Show All feature and selecting “Alison Keggan.”

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Resource Corner

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